Unless you count my mother who went in and out of faith in Jesus/UFOs/conspiracies/whatever, the first Ex-Christian I knew of was the third oldest child in a Pentecostal family. She had six siblings and her parents were very active in more than one of the churches in the area.
I was a teenager, she was a few years older than me. I had recently converted to Pentecostalism. I was convinced that my life was going to be much more fulfilling, fruitful, happy, meaningful, miraculous and whatever because allegedly God Himself was now talking to me with the mouth of fellow Christians and from the pages of the book with the golden page edges, and that I was talking straight to God Himself with the tongues his Spirit was helping me speak.
(Yeah, the churches in that area are quite inclined to preach that Christianity makes your life better with God's loving guidance, and you get to get rid of the shackles of sin and also you get a spot in Heaven. Maybe not so surprisingly from that background, they got heavily involved with Hillsong type activity recently, but that's another story.)
I was convinced God is real, mostly because I was convinced there was mutual communication.
And then there was that girl, who was pregnant out of wedlock with the child of a man of a different race, and there was word on the streets that she was saying "There is no God". Her mother cried so many tears praying over her in our prayer gatherings.
I didn't understand. She'd grown up surrounded by prayer and all kinds of "alleged" miracles. Her mother would fall over slain in the Spirit on her own when praying hard enough during Easters. How could someone who'd grown up in the middle of that say that there is no God?
I was a little afraid of the girl, even. After one particularly powerful prayer circle meeting in their home, with her family members and a few of the young people I used to know, I walked right into her outside the room. I was feeling pretty funny from thinking I'd once again received a message straight from God, and there is that girl who didn't join in, with her polite smile and certain strange silence. I felt she was missing out and choosing emptiness. I really didn't understand why.
I've been thinking of her. I'm not on Facebook, and I forget the name of the guy she was with, so I can't check if they got married and search her up with that surname. I wonder how she's doing, and I regret that I never asked what her initial deconversion story was.